The mixed benefits of a stressor-free life

Emotion. 2021 Aug;21(5):962-971. doi: 10.1037/emo0000958. Epub 2021 Feb 25.


Research documents the pernicious effects of daily stressors on well-being, but often ignored in these studies are people reporting no stressors. The current study compared adults who reported no daily stressors with adults who reported at least one stressor across 8 consecutive days on measures of well-being. Of the 2,804 respondents (age range = 25-75 years, M = 53.46) from the Midlife in the United State Survey daily diary study, 10% reported experiencing no stressors across 8 days. Those reporting no stressors were generally older, male, unmarried, and were less likely to work, provide or receive emotional support, or experience positive daily events. They reported greater daily affective well-being and fewer chronic health conditions but had lower levels of cognitive functioning. Findings suggest that daily stressors may serve as a proxy to engagement in social activities, where a lower level of engagement is related to better physical and emotional well-being but lower levels of cognitive functioning. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cognition
  • Emotions*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Behavior
  • Stress, Psychological*